Bernardini MB-3 Tamoyo 3 - the best tank made in Brazil

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Bernardini MB-3 Tamoyo 3

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Introduction:

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The development of the Tamoyo 3, a Brazilian tank, had its origins in the previous projects Tamoyo 1 and Tamoyo 2, intended for the Brazilian Army. Initially, the Army was looking for a tank capable of facing Argentine tanks at an affordable cost. The initial requirements included a vehicle weighing 30 to 36 tons, a width of 3.2 meters for rail transport, a range of about 500 km, and ground pressure of 0.7 kg/cm², along with parts commonality with other army vehicles. However, throughout the development, these requirements were adjusted due to budget constraints.

Bernardini, the company responsible for the Tamoyo’s development, recognized the disadvantages of the previous projects for export and chose to independently develop the Tamoyo 3, aiming to serve the international market with an economically viable vehicle. For more information, I recommend reading the full article written by Darren Hazes on the website MB-3 Tamoyo 3 - Tank Encyclopedia

General Specs:

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  • Weight: Approximately 29 tons when empty and 31 tons when loaded for combat.
  • Dimensions: 8.9 meters (29.2 feet) in length, 3.29 meters (10.8 feet) in width, 2.35 meters (7.7 feet) in height to the top of the turret, and 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in height, including the commander’s machine gun.
  • Crew: Four members consisting of the commander, gunner, loader, and driver.
  • Armor: Base armor was thicker than the M41 Walker Bulldog, designed to stop 30mm from the front and 14.5mm from all sides.

Frontal Armor Thickness and Angles (with and without spaced armor):

  • Upper Front: 40mm (1.6 inches), angled at 65-70 degrees, effective thickness 95-117mm (3.75-4.6 inches).
  • Lower Front: 40mm (1.6 inches), angled at 45 degrees, effective thickness 57mm (2.25 inches).
  • Sides: 19mm (0.75 inches), no angle specified, effective thickness 19mm (0.75 inches).
  • Rear: Not specified.
  • Top: 12.7mm (0.5 inches), angled at 90 degrees, effective thickness 12.7mm (0.5 inches).

Driver’s Compartment:

  • Driver’s hatch was located on the front left with three periscopes, one of which could be replaced with a night vision device.
  • The driver had access to an escape hatch beneath the driver’s seat.
  • The driver’s seat was adjustable in height and distance and could be folded to reach the escape hatch.
  • The driver used an adjustable steering wheel to control the vehicle and could select gears (neutral, pivot neutral, low, high, and reverse).
  • The accelerator pedal was on the right side, and the brake pedal was on the left side.
  • An independent manual throttle was available for acceleration.
  • There was ammunition storage for 24 rounds of 105mm to the right of the driver.

Rear:

  • The rear of the Tamoyo 3 featured taillights, black-out lights on both sides, and an infantry telephone box on the rear right.
  • It had a towing hook and two supports for rear-mounted equipment.

Side Armor:

  • There were mounting points for the installation of side skirts, consisting of four sets on each side. Early versions were made of steel, but later versions incorporated materials like rubber and aramid fibers for enhanced protection against certain projectiles.

Mobility:

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  • Engine: The Tamoyo 3 was equipped with a water-cooled Detroit Diesel 8V92TA diesel engine generating 736 hp at 2,300 rpm and 2,615 Nm of torque at 1,500 rpm. This resulted in a power-to-weight ratio of 25.5 hp/ton when empty and 23.7 hp/ton when loaded, providing excellent performance.

  • Transmission: It featured a General Motors CD-850-6A transmission with two forward gears and one reverse gear. The gear ratios, including a low gear ratio of 3.50:1, high gear ratio of 1.26:1, and reverse gear ratio of 4.90:1, ensured versatility and adaptability in various terrain conditions.

  • Speed: With this powertrain, the Tamoyo 3 could achieve a maximum speed of 65 km/h (40 mph), offering both speed and maneuverability on the battlefield.

  • Fuel Capacity: The tank had a substantial fuel capacity of 700 liters (185 gallons), distributed between left and right side tanks (300 liters each) and a front tank (100 liters). This provided an operational range of about 500 km (310.7 miles) with a consumption rate of approximately 0.75 km per liter (1.76 miles per gallon).

  • Suspension: The Tamoyo 3 featured torsion bar suspension with six road wheels, three return rollers on each side, and a well-designed idler wheel at the front for stability and control.

  • Tracks: Brazilian-made copies of the T19E3 tracks from Novatração were used, offering durability and a ground contact length of 4.51 meters, resulting in good traction and a trench-crossing capability of 2.4 meters (7.9 feet).

  • Off-road Performance: The tank boasted a ground clearance of 0.5 meters (1.6 feet), could climb vertical obstacles up to 0.71 meters (2.3 feet) in height, and navigate slopes of up to 31 degrees. It was also capable of fording up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) of water, and neutral gear operation added to its versatility.

  • Operational Conditions: The engine’s robust design allowed for operation in temperatures of up to 51 degrees Celsius without performance degradation.

  • Exhaust and Water Management: The exhaust system could be externally mounted, and cooling air was utilized to minimize thermal signatures. An engine air intake could be used for water fording, and a bilge pump ensured water removal when necessary.

Turret:

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  • Armor Composition: The Tamoyo 3’s turret was constructed using welded homogeneous steel plates set at various angles, with indications of integrated composite and spaced armor. The exact placement of composite armor remains unknown, but it is evident that composite or spaced armor was employed on the front and sides, suggested by visible welding seams and inward-bending plates.

  • Turret Ring: The turret featured a 2-meter (6.6 feet) ring, consistent with previous Tamoyo versions, providing ample space for the crew to operate.

  • Hatches: Two hatches were present on the turret’s roof, facilitating entry for the commander, gunner, and loader. The commander was positioned in the middle-right section of the tower, while the gunner was situated in front of the commander, and the loader on the middle-left side.

  • Periscopes and Optics: The gunner had access to a periscope located on the front-right side of the turret and an emergency coaxial telescope for the 105mm gun. The commander had seven periscopes, including one for independent target acquisition, potentially matching the gunner’s periscope. The loader also had access to a periscope.

  • External Features: The external aspects of the Tamoyo 3’s turret included a removable top plate to facilitate gun removal. A covered area on the front left suggested potential installation for a weather station to measure temperature, wind speed, and direction. The loader’s periscope was placed behind the weather station, in front of the loader’s hatch. The gunner’s periscope was located on the front right, in a dedicated depression on the tower.

  • Commander’s Station: Behind the gunner’s periscope, the commander’s station featured a rail mount for a machine gun. An unidentified component was situated between the loader’s and commander’s hatches, potentially serving as an additional machine gun mount. Antennas extended from the loader’s hatches on the left side to the right rear. A visible blowout panel was evident on the rear left side, along with NBC system ventilation and coverings located in the middle rear of the tower. A large storage box was mounted at the rear.

  • Handling and Accessibility: The turret included numerous lifting hooks, a total of six on the front and sides, and three handles to facilitate crew access. Four smoke dischargers were installed on each side of the rear tower.

  • Coaxial Machine Gun: The coaxial machine gun was positioned on the left side of the 105mm gun, enabling firing from the gunner’s and commander’s stations, as well as manual operation by the loader. The loader had access to 6 boxes of 7.62mm ammunition stored on the top plate, and an additional 10 boxes of 7.62mm or .50 caliber ammunition appeared to be stored on the tower’s basket floor, providing a total of 4,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.

  • Ammunition Stowage for 105mm Gun: Two types of ammunition stowage were provided for the 105mm gun. One was a rear storage compartment located in an explosion-proof compartment, with an access door on the rear left of the tower and a blowout panel on the top, offering space for 12 rounds. The other type was a ready-to-use vertical stowage location for 6 rounds in the tower basket. These stocks were open and did not protect the crew in case of ammunition “cooking off.”

  • Control Panels and Systems: Most of the control panels, computers, and fire control system panels were located within the gunner’s and commander’s stations. The tower’s external basket and area around the gun’s recoil were extensively covered with steel mesh to minimize exposure and ensure crew safety.

Armament

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The Tamoyo 3 was armed with a Royal Ordnance 105 mm L7 LRF (Low Recoil Force) gun, enclosed in a thermal sleeve (not mounted during its 1987 presentation). This gun was developed post-1982 and was adopted for vehicles like the Cadillac Gage Stingray. By mid-1984, two prototypes were completed. The L7 LRF had a longer recoil stroke and the option to use a muzzle brake to reduce recoil forces, although the Tamoyo 3 did not utilize this feature. These low-recoil guns could be mounted on various vehicles, from light ones like the M41 to heavier models such as the T-55 and M47 Patton.

The 105 mm L7 LRF gun had an overall length of 6.8 meters, a recoil stroke of 762 mm, and weighed 1,932 kg. The recoil pull on the trunnions measured 113.75 kN. The gun had the flexibility to fire any round developed for the L7, with specific rounds varying based on the customer’s requirements.

Tamoyo 3 Ammunition

  • L64 APFSDS (armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot): Penetrated up to 170 mm at 60º from vertical at 2,000 meters, with an effective range of 2,500 meters, a velocity of 1,490 m/s, and a dart weight of 3.59 kg (Tungsten, 28 mm diameter).
  • APDS L52 (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot): Capable of piercing 240 mm flat from vertical at 2,000 meters, 210 mm at 30º from vertical at 2,000 meters, and 120 mm at 60º from vertical at 2,000 meters. It had an effective range of 2,500 meters, a velocity of 1,426 m/s, and a sub-projectile weight of 4.65 kg/6.48 kg projectile.
  • HEAT M456 (High Explosive Anti-Tank): Penetrated 360 mm (13.8 inches) at 30º at any range, with an effective range of 2,500 meters and a velocity of 1,174 m/s. The projectile weighed 10.25 kg (8 lbs).
  • L35 HESH (High Explosive Squash Head): A versatile round suitable for both anti-armor and anti-personnel applications, also utilized as high explosive. Specific range and velocity details are not provided, but the projectile weighed 11.26 kg (11.6 lbs).
  • White Phosphorus - Smoke: Used as a smoke round, with a velocity of 260 m/s and a weight of 19.6 kg (11.9 lbs). (*Brazilian Army used rounds with an asterisk)

The turret featured an electric elevation and traverse system, offering 15º of gun elevation and -6º of gun depression. It had a maximum elevation speed of 266 mils/s (approximately 15º per second) and a maximum traverse speed of 622 mils/s (about 35º per second). Additionally, the Tamoyo 3 was equipped with a coaxial and turret-top 7.62 FN MAG machine gun, although the coaxial machine gun could be replaced with a .50 caliber machine gun as an option. Ammunition storage included 42 rounds of 105 mm ammunition and at least 4,000 rounds of 7.62 ammunition. A coaxially mounted searchlight complemented the armament.

Composite Armor:

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  • Introduction of Technology: The Tamoyo development program reached a significant milestone with the introduction of composite and spaced armor in the Tamoyo 3 project. This innovation sets it apart from other Brazilian vehicles, making it the only one allegedly equipped with such technology.
  • Exception to the Norm: While the Osório project considered the use of composite armor, the implementation remains uncertain. Additionally, the third prototype planned for production in Saudi Arabia, the EE-T1 P3, also envisioned the use of composite armor, but due to changes in Saudi Arabia’s tank acquisition and the bankruptcy of Engesa, this vehicle was never completed. Therefore, the Tamoyo 3 remains the only confirmed Brazilian vehicle to adopt composite armor.
  • Armor Specifications: The thickness of the composite armor in the front of the Tamoyo 3’s turret is approximately 300 mm. However, the exact details regarding the composition, effectiveness, and thickness remain unknown.
  • Development of the Technology: Engineers from Bernardini gained knowledge about composite armor through technical visits to countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Israel. The final composition of the armor resulted from extensive testing at the Marambaia Test Field and in Bernardini’s laboratories.
  • Combining Composite and Spaced Armor: The approach taken in the Tamoyo 3 combined composite and spaced armor, although specific details about their arrangement in the turret remain unknown. This strategy aimed to use high-quality materials, such as alumina ceramic, boron, special resins, carbon fibers, and non-ferrous materials, encapsulated by high-hardness steel plates. The goal was to provide protection against large-caliber projectiles.
  • Considered Alternatives: During the early stages of development, Bernardini assessed the possibility of employing explosive reactive armor, but this idea was discarded due to the insufficient thickness of the steel plates in the base hull. Engineers also studied the strategic placement of fuel tanks for additional protection and the use of kevlar in plastics to withstand fragmentation.

video showing the tamoyo 3 in detail:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxVKA30NxGM&t=27s

Source:

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MB-3 Tamoyo 3 - Tank Encyclopedia

Bernardini MB-3 Tamoyo – Expedito Carlos Stephani Bastos

Images:

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Absolutely have to have it. +1 for LatAm.

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More pictures

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the channel Sala de Guerra made a video about it, showing its interior

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I’m hyped for this

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i prefer the Tamoyo 90mm

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